Blog :: 2015
Surprises come in unexpected places.
I arrived in Rutland to show a modest ranch a stone's throw from the Giancola Construction's main office on unassuming Granger Street. Mr. Giancola wanted to have a look and the fun started.
I had no idea what I was in for. We sat in Joe's office and he spun a web of history, how it all began, humble beginnings, earnest efforts, diligence leading to success upon success. His son Peter joined us, adding to the tale of expansion and discovery.
Joe Giancola embodies a wonderful combination of confidence and charm. He is comfortable with a stranger, setting a relaxed table for smiles, exchange and story. The Giancolas are obviously a handsomely equipped clan. They came across an incredible opportunity and jumped.
Before we get to the making of an empire, Joe, his son Peter and I strolled up Granger to 88 South to have a look at the possibilities, taking a keen eye and a quick analysis of the pitfalls and strengths. Dealing with thousands of investors, these two stand tall. Nuts to bolts, they know construction and what it takes to buy, flip and hold. Not a word wasted, their combined talents cut to the chase. Even the most modest lodging holds promise in the right hands.
Joe found his way early, networking with and securing loans from banks from the time he was in college. Born into a modest home, he learned the value of struggle and legal tender. Ingenuity and brass tacks perseverance. The fruits of his labors began to pour in; his train rolled fast and conquests multiplied. Rutland would never be the same. By twenty, he started his own construction company and purchased a house across the street form his family home. A self proclaimed scavenger, Joe collected machinery and Giancola Construction thrived. He purchased house after run down house, fixed and leased to dozens of commercial, non-profit and manufacturing companies, acquiring valuable skills while marking the Rutland market to the point that many banks have him on their short list.
Then came the peach.
18 acres and over 20 buildings abandoned. Industrial toxic wasteland, Aero Jet strung out. Bidder after bidder fell short. Then Joe entered the scene at once capitalizing on the toxic chemical clean up for his construction company and taking advantage of an historic opportunity. Mammoth undertaking is an understatement. Industrial incubation. The Howe Scale Co briefly employed Joe in 1956, not realizing it's destiny had Giancola written all over it.
Joe extended an invitation to take a drive to tour his paradise. Sensing something special, I thankfully accepted and we took off (Joe is an airplane pilot too). House after house, they were his. Score upon score, Joseph had purchased and reinvigorated, fixed and flipped, bought and held. Single family to duplex, multi-family to commercial exploit including offices and a handsome laundromat, an industrial warehouse with nearly 150 parking spaces for the car owner seeking safe harbor. A popular dog wash business. The Giancolas even installed their own metered gas distribution network at Howe Center, markedly improving their numbers. A diversified and forward thinking renaissance man, Mr. Giancola is an entrepreneur par excellence.
It was a hot sunny afternoon, a great tour thanks to an industrial giant, and a pleasure to discover the Giancola empire.Here's a statement from the Giancola Family of Companies website:
"The Giancola Family operates a variety of companies in Rutland, VT. that provide services in real estate, construction, tool & equipment rental, car washing and laundry services. Our focus on real estate is underscored by our commitment to providing exactly the commercial space you need.
We pride ourselves on being innovative in constructing solutions for our customers that meet their current and future needs along with meeting their existing budget constraints. The breadth and depth of solutions we offer assures you that we can accommodate almost any request in some manner. The rental spaces in our inventory range from all types of residences to one-room offices all the way up to larger (up to 20,000 square feet) commercial/industrial spaces. Contact us and we will be glad to show off our capabilities and resources and sit down with you to structure the best possible deal for you."
This blog post is based on conversations with Joe & Peter Giancola and their family published "Howe To Book" on revitalizing old commercial industrial facilities, the Giancola family and the Howe Center story. Special thanks to Joe & Peter Giancola for their generous time and information.
Things Are Looking Up
"The sky's the limit if you have a roof over your head." Sol Hurok.
Architecture dazzles. Architect Frank Gehry knows, his metallic and light geometry in Cambridge, MA here pictured, draws you in and up instantly. It captures our hearts and minds. Design seduces buyers into bidding wars, captures in form the spirit of man and shelter.
Vermont architecture varies dramatically, from urbanscape to quiet country lane. Roofs, the apogee of our homes, define the interpretation of form and visual appeal, not to mention purpose. Often overlooked as incidental, the roof is the backbone of a home, critical in preserving and protecting. Whether a simple gable sans skylight, a dormered cape, an ornate victorian or flat top rubber membrane, roofs are, second only to foundations, an essential architectural element in function and style.
What kind of roofs have caught your eye and fancy? Do you prefer simplicity or complex lines and interaction? How important is light and elevation to you?
Like us, roofs need to breathe. Adequately providing for soffit and peak ventilation can radically affect longevity of both the roofing and substrate. There's nothing as frustrating when you've found a great buyer, are under contract to close and the property inspector opens up the attic to find thick layers of mold covering the attic ceiling due to inadequate venilation and trapped moisture. Mold mediation companies can charge tens of thousands.
This Maple Sweet Real Estate Mad River Valley listing at 146 Sugarhouse Lane features a half-hipped roof, sloped in four directions with post and beam accents. The hipped roof allows for more room upstairs; less knee wall space means high square footage and better maximization of vertical opportunities.
It's the materials that count. From adobe out west, grass tops in England, synthetic slate shingles made from baby diapers, roofing elements define the shelter from the storm, our year round umbrellas. Cedar shakes are durable and gorgeous and can last for many decades depending on thickness, length, rating, installation skill and maintenance. Other shingles include ubiquitous ashphalt in standard and architectural form and composite shingles. While rare in Vermont, terra cotta spanish and other ceramic tiles hold immense appeal. With heavy snowfall's vertical line, sheet metal satisfies in corrugated and standing seam. Think green...Solar shingles anyone?
The real deal, slate shingles can last 100+ years; so durable, they make the others look like rice paper. Just be sure to build a frame and truss system strong enough to support their weight or the whole show will come tumbling down. From dirt cheap to blindingly dear as the labor is dangerous, something I can attest to. I was up refinishing a roof of mine when the ladder gave out. Shotgun descent, broken humurous (thankfully no broken back or neck), titanium plate, surgery and seven screws. This is one job you don't want to DIY.
Poetry of roofing. Open vs closed valleys, pitch and concealed fasteners. Flashing, skylights and gutters, snow guards, peaks and valleys. Arched, domed and skillion, sheathing, sod and solar. Thermal emittance, ice dams and R factor.
"Tin Roof" by Scottish Poet Nii Ayikwei Parkes
"Wild harmattan winds whip you but still you stay; they spit dust all over your gleam and twist your sharp cutting edges.
The rains come zinging mud with their own tapping music. Yet you remain -my pride- my very own roof."
Maple Sweet Real Estate adds value and insight to better inform your real estate decisions. Thank you so much for reading the Maple Sweet blog.
To learn more about roofs, find a roofing contractor, buy land to build, buy or list your own home, call 800-525-7965 or email email@example.com
When does it make sense to make the leap from renting to owning your own property? Forbes confirmed in March buying a home is now 38% cheaper than renting, with the gap closing as both mortgage interest rates and home prices rise. In many markets, buying beats renting until mortgage rates reach 10.6%. With rates currently hovering around 3.75%, still near historic lows, the advantage is clear.
On average if you're planning to stay in place for a year and nine months, it's time to buy. Like any rule, there are so many exceptions.
2nd are local rent levels vs the monthly cost of carrying a home including not just your mortage, but also taxes, insurance and maintenance which are easy to underestimate. Purchasing a home that fits your budge helps but equally as important is finding a home that is a value in your market. Comparing town assessed values to a likely purchase price can help as a barometer, but condition and stylistic appeal matter too.
4th. Wouldn't it be wonderful to get that monkey off your back? Landlords can be overwhelming. Instead of having to wait to get those irksome issues taken care of, when you own you know it's worth keeping things up and you can execute promptly knowing it's your investment. Ever have a landlord crimp your style or nag you about conforming to a lease condition you wish you'd never signed or didn't read carefully enough? Set yourself free.
Home ownership is, after all, part of the American dream. There's such a thrill in knowing it's your own castle and you've control over your own destiny. Landscaping, perennials, planting trees, masonry walls and stone gardens and other beautification become major pleasures, not to mention knowing that, if well cared for and improved over time, the chances are you'll end up getting back at last most of your equity if not all of it plus a handsome profit instead of all those lost rent payments that went up in smoke.
Check out currently featured Maple Sweet Real Estate video with Ellen Degeneres. Bringing her trademark wit and charm to the world of real estate, she touches on secret codes, the MLS, and red flags to watch out for.
Starting a wildly successful stand up career in the 80's including an appearance on Johnny Carson's Tonight show, modern viewers may know her Ellen Degeneres show since 2003. Her talents are varied, including book authorship, a film career, myriad TV show appearances, Academy Awards, Grammy Awards & Emmy Awards hosting; she's won 13 of the latter. Forget youtube, fans by the millions are lapping up ellentube.
An obviously talented entrepreneur, her laughs are easy to underestimate. She knows how to take amazing advantage of real estate markets too. Ellen sold the renovated Quincy Jones designed nine bedroom Brody home in LA last yeat to Napster co-founder Sean Parker for 55 million after she purchased it the previous winter for just 40 Million. Talk about a handsome return on investment.
To help the less affluent gain insight into real estate investing, have a listed to one of over a hundred real estate investing podcasts by Bigger Pockets. From minimum wage to multi-million dollar portfolios, it's entirely possible to rise quickly up the ladder of fortune with the right intel.
Maple Sweet Real Estate adds value and insight to better inform your real estate decisions.
South Village, on Lincoln Peak's eastern flank @ Sugarbush ski area, is an enclave of comfort and convenience. Year in year out discerning Vermont second home owners vie for a chance to own one of these handsome, stand alone ski escapes. Here are two South Village condos available now with superior locations and exceptional improvements.
South Village 57 includes a custom made Beefer Roth bed frame with matching raw edge atrium window framing and a pristine hardwood maple great room floor extending into the kitchen. If you love wood and looking for a handsomely fnished low maintenance second home with Vermont vernacular touches, this is it. Located at woods edge, it's a stone's throw from the access trail that connects the big slopes and on the high side of the road with parking just below. Feast on incredible Mad River Valley views form the wrap around deck and enjoy the privacy of being up on the end of road cul de sac. Watch your kids ski home through the trees from the cathedral living room and warm your weekends with the central brick hearth and stack wood burning fireplace.
Bright ceramic tile kitchen, skylights and beautiful, clear towering windows bathe in abundant light. Listed at a modest $248,500, a similar, less handsomely renovated South Village on the same cul de sac sold for $282,000. Quality and value for the taking. More info, pix here.
For more room, South Village 33 offers an expanded floor plan with an added and finshed basement. The new pine siding smells so good it feels like a tree house. Overflow guests savor the large siamese bed loft, and a roughed in fourth bathroom is ready to customize and finish. Consistent with the new pine family room siding, the kitchen and living room have a durable yellow pine wood floor distinguishing 33 from most South Village units which have carpeting. Modern lighting, this spacious stand alone condo is also on an west end cul de sac close to the ski on ski off access trail so you don't have to get in your car once you get to Vermont. See the association map below showing each condo marked with condo numbers.
Tall fir trees, wrap around deck and an exceptional west end association location translate to less traffic, more privacy and a much shorter ski onto the main trails. New tile mudroom floor, beautiful views from the kitchen, a large deck and, like 57, an energy efficient propane fired Rinnai heater supplement the crackling central wood fireplace listed at $279,000. More info, pix here.
No other condo association at Sugarbush offers stand alone, self-contained units with ski on ski off convenience. Snow Creek, while closer the main trails is an apartment like complex with units stacked three high. Clay Brook & Rice Brook, while at the base of Lincoln Peak, feel more like a hotel than at home.
At South Village, you're unattached to others which means the world. When you get up here to relax you won't need to go far for your firewood either: the maintenance team will have it stacked by your front door and walkway shoveled. Once you drive north, you can really spread your wings. After you leave weekly condo checks and a very capable property management team help ensure your home away from home is being well looked after.